Hotel check in/check up – our intrepid writer booked a room in one of the oldest hotels in Paris, a croissant’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, and why you should too.

It doesn’t get any more French. This luxury property, just a croissant’s throw from the Arc de Triomphe, has a truly Parisian vibe that taps into the joie de vivre of a first-class vacay. It’s charming, sexy and downright clandestine, with just 98 rooms and intimate nooks throughout its public spaces. Nods to Napoleon with Empire-era furnishings, portraits, rich tapestries and golden accents bring a regal feeling, ripe for drinking champagne in the 1807 bar and watching the world go by.

Hotel Napoleon Lobby

The hotel’s gilded lobby is designed in the Napoleonic style and boasts comfortable arm chairs and an ornate fireplace.

Nearby, there’s outstanding French cuisine, including the flagship location of Pierre Hermé, a pastry shop helmed by the “Picasso of pastry” known for his colourful macarons in exotic flavours, like Iranian black lemon. Or bask in the twinkle of the three Michelin-starred Pierre Gagnaire, which pioneered fusion cuisine and adventurous techniques. 

Hotel Napoleon represents everything visitors love about Paris.

Where you stayed
Hotel Napoleon Paris

What brought you to this hotel?
Ah, Paris. My husband had never visited the destination known for romance and culture, so I vowed to correct that with a five-day stay in November when the crowds thin out and the weather is mild. Museums, food and sightseeing were the focus. 

When did it open? 
It opened in 1928, built in Art Deco-style by the architect Henri Porteau. Shortly thereafter, a wealthy Russian traveller bought it as a gift for his young French bride. The couple lived on-site for many years and entertained the rich, the bold and the beautiful of the time. The hotel’s romantic roots shine through with the lusciousness of the décor. 

Any history to the place?
Indeed. It’s one of the oldest hotels in Paris. As such, it has welcomed many high-profile guests over its near-100 years, including Ernest Hemingway, Salvador Dali, Ella Fitzgerald, Miles Davis and Josephine Baker, plus a host of European royals.

hotel napoleon

Courtesy: Hotel Napoleon

Location, location, location: 
The five-star Preferred Hotels & Resorts property sits in the midst of the 8th arrondissement, steeped in history related to the French ruler Napoleon Bonaparte, including the Arc de Triomphe, a tribute to his many military victories. Hotel Napoleon sits on Avenue de Friedland (named after one of his winning battles). The legendary restaurants and shopping of the Champs-Élysées, RER and metro stop Charles de Gaulle–Etoile are all less than five minutes away.

For French culinary classics, walk across the street from the hotel to Café de Paris where you can sample all the greatest hits – steak and frites, a croque madame smothered in Emmental cheese, and tarte tatin served alongside a wee pot of crème fraiche.

Designed for everybody?
There’s a warmth and intimacy to this property because of its modest size. Walking into the lobby feels like entering an aristocrat’s living room with inviting spaces throughout and seating near the fireplace where you contemplate life or whisper sweet nothings to your beloved. I spotted a wide range of guests during my stay. Locals came for breakfast and drinks. Tourists arrived with stacks of luggage and business people gathered to make deals. 

High rollers book the spacious Imperial Suite on the top floor, featuring a private terrace where you can see the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and the views of the city. 

Breakfast in bed?

Hotel Napoleon Paris

Courtesy: Hotel Napoleon Paris

While there’s room service, it operates from midday to 10 pm. The good news is that the breakfast buffet in the hotel’s 1807 restaurant is a good reason to get out of bed. It had hot and cold options, including super flaky croissants, local cheese and meats, eggs and sausages, etc. My favourite item of all was the individual portions of luscious French butter wrapped up like bonbons. I also got quite hooked on the luxurious hot chocolate. After just one morning, the server knew me by name and brought me a chocolat chaud to start my day.

What you loved:
Planning a trip to Paris can be complex, given how much there is to see and do. Going to the Musée d’Orsay to see Monet’s Water Lilies was at the top of my to-do list, but I was sad to learn tickets were sold out when trying to book them online. I mentioned this to the hotel’s concierge and was grateful that he snagged me two tickets for a visit the next day. That kind of service makes staying at a luxury hotel worth every penny.

The Bar 1807 at Hotel Napoleon Paris. Private, yet bright, The Bar 1807 reveals an Art Deco style influenced by the 1930s.

The Bar 1807 at Hotel Napoleon Paris. Private, yet bright, The Bar 1807 reveals an Art Deco style influenced by the 1930s.

In the afternoon, the Art Deco-styled 1807 bar was a gorgeous, light-filled place to hang out over champagne cocktails and signature classics with a French flair, such as a Paris Mule made with elderflower liqueur or French Julep made with cognac. Open year round, its chic terrace surrounded by a bamboo hedge is a lovely, private spot for people watching.

What you thought could be better: 
I found the bed too warm because of the mattress cover. Though I understand the need for one, I disliked it.

Need to Know:

  • Free wireless Internet
  • Mini bar stocked with soft drinks
  • Air conditioning
  • Soundproofed windows
  • In-room safe
  • Fitness room
  • On-site massage and spa services
  • Pet-friendly
  • Luggage storage available
  • L’Occitane toiletries
  • Marble bathrooms
  • Connected rooms for families
  • Bathrobes and slippers

Reserve directly or through the Preferred Hotels & Resorts site.

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